WHEN people think of Halloween, images of scary costumes and pumpkins appear – but few know the real meaning behind the festivity.
Here is everything you need to know about the ancient Celtic harvest festival…
When is Halloween 2019?
Halloween falls every year on October 31, which is a Wednesday this year — which is also Brexit day, the day the UK leaves the EU.
It is held the day before All Saints’ Day, which is a Christian festival used to celebrate recognised saints.
Halloween activities typically involve trick or treating, dressing up in fancy dress and carving pumpkins.
Why is the date of Halloween significant?
The word Halloween comes from Hallowe’en, meaning “hallowed evening” or holy evening.
It is widely thought that Halloween traditions came from Celtic harvest festivals of Samhain, although some people support the view that Halloween began independently as a Christian festival.
Samhain was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and means "summer’s end."
People at this time thought the walls between worlds were thin and ghosts could pass through into our realm, and it was feared they may damage crops for the next season.
To appease any spirits, gaels would set up places at their dinner tables for the spirits and light bonfires to scare off evil spirits.
How can you celebrate Halloween?
There are a number of ways to celebrate the festival, whether you want to go out or enjoy it from the comfort of your home.
- playing apple bobbing
- carving pumpkins
- playing pranks
- dressing up in fancy dress at a costume party
- going trick or treating
- watching horror films
- telling scary stories
- visiting "haunted" attractions
- some Christians attend church services
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